Next-gen Rolls-Royce Phantom spotted

Published: 07 November 2016

2017 Rolls-Royce Phantom spyshots
Next-gen limo to feature new underpinnings
Shock! Out go the analogue gauges

The Rolls-Royce Phantom, pinnacle of the brand’s luxury line-up, is a particularly long-standing model. The nameplate dates all the way back to 1925 but the current generation – the Phantom VII – has been in service since 2003.

A thirteen-year stretch, relatively unchanged, is no mean feat for a modern automobile – and it’s indicative of the thought and effort that went into the Phantom in the first place. Drive one today and it’ll still feel suitably upmarket and worthy of the brand, with only the dated on-board electronics really revealing its age.

Rolls-Royce, however, has decided that it’s finally time to retire the ageing Phantom – despite its ongoing popularity with buyers – and replace it with an all-new car.

So, this is the 2017 Rolls-Royce Phantom… VIII?

Correct. Rolls isn’t giving it a cosmetic overhaul and a few tweaks, either – this is reputedly all-new car. Predictably there are no shocks on the styling from, with its lines aping those of its successful predecessor. The camouflage hides some of the minor details but what is evident are far more modern-looking headlights and tail lights, and subtle tweaks to its panels.

2017 Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII

The real changes are under that familiar exterior. Rolls-Royce itself has said that the eighth-generation Phantom rides on an all-new aluminium platform. Although the outgoing Phantom itself uses an aluminium platform, over a decade’s worth of engineering and material developments should grant a significant reduction in kerb weight – aiding performance and handling, the latter being a little moot for a Phantom – as well as granting potential improvements in refinement. 

What’s going on inside?  

So far we’ve only one shot of the new Phantom’s interior. You can’t miss the new widescreen displays, one of which replaces the conventional analogue instrument cluster. A shame, perhaps, given that a high-quality physical gauge is a far more visually appealing object than a virtual representation of one. Time will tell, though; perhaps Rolls-Royce has some tricks up its sleeves.

2017 Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII

It’s interesting to note that the BMW parts bin continues to be raided; see that (presumably temporary) steering wheel? That’s a current BMW part, although the column shroud and other switchgear appears to be bespoke.

What engine will the new Phantom use?

A BMW-sourced V12 is earmarked to continue providing the motive power, although it may well be the newer twin-turbo ‘N74’ – as found in the Ghost – rather than the long-serving naturally aspirated ‘N73’.

2017 Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII

When will we find out more?

The new eighth-generation Rolls-Royce Phantom is expected to go on sale in 2017. Expect a standard wheelbase and a long wheelbase version initially. Coupe and drophead coupe versions may follow.

Inside Rolls-Royce: 800 hours and the job’s a good ’un

2017 Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII

By Lewis Kingston

Formerly of this parish. Inveterate car buyer and seller; currently owner of a '68 Charger project car